1) Send your friends and family a letter: (Best way to get started!) Mothers Without Borders (MWB) can provide you with a form letter you can personalize and send out. They have also recently made it possible for you to create your own online fundraising campaign on their website. This makes it very easy to get the word out about your campaign and invite your friends and family to donate.
You can send your own heartfelt email. (Read how one volunteer raised $8,000 in 2 weeks through emails) We’ve had people raise between $300-2000 just with the mail letter alone.
2) Donations instead of gifts: People have asked that instead of presents for Christmas, b-days, other days that people donate to MWB in their name instead. One sweet lady from my team last year just did this last week. She put a message on her Facebook page saying that she was turning 40 the next day and that instead of gifts, lunches, flowers, she would love to buy at least one bicycle for the children at our orphanage who travel 6 miles to attend high school each day. Each bicycle costs $200. She wound up raising enough money to buy ALL 6 needed bikes plus had money to sponsor a child in school for a year.
3) Matching Funds: Some people work for companies (or their spouse, sibling, parent, friend does) that offering corporate matching on donations to 501(c)3 charities like MWB. You donate a dollar and they match it by donating a dollar and sometimes more! People have gotten half or more of their trip paid for this way. Email email@example.com if you have any questions about matching funds.
I even know a girl who wrote to a large local business, explained what she wanted to do, why she was going etc. asking for a donation and they actually paid for her entire trip. Small businesses are overburdened with requests but large companies usually have a certain amount of money set aside for charitable giving. Definitely worth a try!
4) Garage Sale: Collect items from friends and neighbors and sell at a big garage sale. One person I know raised $1200 this way.
5) Bake Sale: A family last year loved to bake so they took orders for special events and delivered the evening before. For example, on Easter they took orders for cakes and hot cross buns. On Mother’s Day they took orders for Cinnamon rolls. Father’s Day, some other yummy thing. They raised thousands of dollars doing this.
6) Silent Auction: Can be combined with another event or you could do a dinner (anything from informal BBQ in someone’s backyard to black tie event). If you want to do something big with this, let us know, we can give you ideas. If done right these can raise up to $10,000 or more but require a lot of work.
7) Movie Night: 3 of our volunteers got together and held a family movie night at a local elementary school. They sold treats, charged a small ticket price to get in and showed a movie. They combined this with a silent auction. One popular item at their auction was 2 plane tickets and some art work by a local artist. So it pays to work your connections. They raised over $3000.
8) Kids’ Camp: During spring break one of our volunteers ran a kids camp from her home for 3 days. She charged per child and had them bring their own sack lunch while she provided all the activities. She raised $1200 this way.
9) Change for Change Jars: People have made “Spare change for Change” jars and put them at local businesses or at their work places. They’ve collected $100-$1000 that way.
10) Partnering with businesses: Some people have worked with their place of business or a local business to do a fundraiser like Chik-FilA, local restaurants, events at their business. One lady worked for a gym and they sponsored an event. They sold T-shirts and a portion of the proceeds went towards her expedition. Each of these events raised a few hundred dollars.
11) Fun Runs: Great way to raise money and awareness. The sky is the limit on these, though to be successful it can require a lot of preparation time.
12) Sporting Events: You can partner with a local high school’s sports team to raise funds at an upcoming game/event.
13) Daddy/Daughter Dance: Put on an event for Dad’s and their girls to dress up and have fun! Provide simple treats, a photo area and some great music and games. Our local high school does this and they raise thousands of dollars.
14) Hot Dog Sale: (Feed people) Find a busy place and set up your booth. Ask for donations of large quantities of hot dogs, buns, and condiments from local grocery stores or restaurants, or you can buy these yourself from wholesalers like Costco. Advertise your event well or set up in a space that gets a lot of foot traffic and begin selling. Be sure to tell everyone what you’re raising money for.
15) Family photos: Get a local photographer to donate their time and equipment and have your business, school, local church host a family photo day. Everyone can come and pay a low fee to have their picture taken and then provide prints (which can be donated by a local Walgreens or other print shop) or provide the digital files for families to get their own prints.
16) Hold a Parent’s Night Out (or sleepover?). Have teachers and parent volunteers chaperone as parents pay a fee to drop off their kids for a few hours or the whole night at the school’s gym, cafeteria or other large room. Feed the kids dinner, play games or screen a movie.
18) Other: We’ve had people sell items from their garden, offer to babysit for donations, or use their talents to raise money doing benefit concerts, selling their artwork/crafts/sewing, raising chickens, baking birthday/speciality cakes etc.
19) Look online for more ideas: Here are a few I found:
“We just did a fundraiser at our local bowling place. Sold 84 tickets for $20 each which included 3 games and shoe rental. Profit was $16 per ticket. Banners were sold to local businesses for $50 each. Profit was $35 per banner. Then we held two 50/50 raffles netted $250. A local band even donated their time! Total profit was $2200 even after giving away $500 in cash prizes for 3 highest bowling scores!”
“Our Relay For Life team has a birdhouse auction every year. We provide plain wooden birdhouses to local artists and craftspersons. They decorate, paint or change the birdhouses as they choose. Then we have a live auction at a local restaurant. We raise over $6,000 every year.”
“Hold a sports tournament or trivia night. Charge $$ per team that enters. Organize the tournament and have medals for the winners”